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By Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Francoise Jacob, Stefan Kohler
Are we creating the perfect conditions for a dramatic disaster to happen?
Torrential rainfall, extreme flooding and massive landslides have claimed more than 200 lives in Sri Lanka over the past few days. Property and livelihoods were destroyed or damaged, with devastating consequences for more than half a million people. Cyclone Mora formed while leaving the shores of the island.
By Robert Glasser and Achim Steiner
This year is already on track to be the hottest on record, beating out 2015 for this unfortunate distinction. Every year, if it’s not the mercury rising it’s the tangible impacts of climate change.
The writers are Michele Sullivan, Director of Corporate Social Innovation at Caterpillar and President of the Caterpillar Foundation, and Radha Muthiah, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
Imagine spending hours every day cooking your family's food over an open fire, your eyes burning and lungs struggling from the constant smoke. Then imagine spending additional hours, often in the dark of dawn or dusk, searching for the fuel needed to start cooking again.
There is a public health crisis that is threatening the health and lives of men, women and children across our planet at an alarming rate, and the richest nations are affected as well as the poorest. And the sad truth is that many nations in the world have not made addressing the crisis a high enough priority to successfully combat it. We are not talking about Ebola, which has claimed the lives of some 5,000 people worldwide. Malnutrition — in the form of stunting, obesity, heart disease and early death — affects at least 2 billion people worldwide.
The clock is ticking loudly for all of us focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose established end-date is December 31, 2015. We have made absolutely phenomenal progress since the goals were set, and there is much recent good news. A record number of malaria bednets were delivered in the first half of 2014, expected to save 600,000 children's lives over the next three years and bring us closer to achieving our goal of near-zero deaths by 2015.
When the world's humanitarian leaders gathered at the World Health Organization's headquarters in December 2010 the mood was somber. The previous year had witnessed large-scale natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan, and the collective response of the major United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations had been chaotic and ineffective.